Dave Eggers scored a worldwide phenomenon with this memoir that topped national best-seller lists and has since become a staple for summer reading and book clubs. A compelling voice for Generation X, Eggers hererecounts his early 20s, caring for his younger brother after their parents’ unexpected deaths and his endeavors in a variety of media.
©2000 David K. Eggers (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
“Not just for the MTV-fan age group, this is a very entertaining, well-written book.” (Booklist)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Excellent narration is the cap to the fascinating and enjoyable novel. As much as I enjoyed this novel, I can see that many people would really not appreciate it. This is largely an inner stream of consciousness and there are a lot of four letter words and frank thoughts about sex and death. In the first chapter involving a death from cancer I was literally laughing and crying and nauseated and uplifted at the same time. I don’t mean alternately, I mean at the very same instant. This is pretty unusual writing. I was thinking Gen-X meets James Joyce. The characters, even some very minor characters, are quite well presented. If you want a story where the protagonist faces adversity only to take heart and overcome, you might not want this book (but maybe you should read it anyway). The characters do change, but not in pat ways, instead in the ways people really change. The protagonist is often not very likeable, yet he is human and the beauty of his existence sporadically flashes through. I am nearly as far as it gets from being a Gen-Xer but I really liked this book. The narration more than does justice to the text, shouting and crying, mumbling and enunciating when the writing called for it.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
There are parts of this book I absolutely loved. There are also parts of it I definitely hated. I think Eggers' talent is obvious, his playfulness kinetic, his abilility to make his own grief/history both gruesome and beautiful by basically eating every experience and person surrounding him (disposal of his mom's ashes is a good example). Eventually his thinking about the thinking and thinking about the thinking about thinking kinda drove me a little nuts.
I do want to distinguish my own discomfort with this early Dave Eggers book from the current jealous-hipster backlash against Eggers. Yes, my hipster MFA people, Eggesr isn't Henry James, certainly, but still he manages to subvert the artificial separation between fiction and memoirs in aHWofSG. So, just admit that part of your animosity towards this book is that you didn't think of it, write it, or end up actually being able to make a living/achieve fame from a book you wrote in your twenties (same feelings that bubbles up whenever a Foer brother publishes something)
I'm also glad I waited to read/listen to this until Eggers had proven through McSweeney's, and his more recent books of nonfiction and fiction, that he wasnt just a gimmicky one-hit-wonder.
Oh, and Dion Graham's read of aHWofSG was kindof amazing.
I loved this book. I could relate to his inner monologue and found myself laughing many times throughout the book. I read a few negative reviews and I can see how one might take issue with the following aspects: the narrator, focus on death, and as one reviewer called it, "breathless, non-stop chatter." First, I can understand how one might dislike Dion Graham, he is certainly over the top at times. Personally, I like his narration in this book, I thought he suited the material. In reference to the focus on death, it's completely relevant to the story line. Finally, the "non-stop chatter" could get annoying if you're not into that style. Personally, I tend to have the same attention deficit disorder type thought process so it worked for me. I thought it was well written and engaging, I highly recommend this book.
Possibly the best audiobook I've bought so far. Hillarious, honest and self aware, the narrator suits the text perfectly.
The narrator was outstanding. He brought such range, and passion to this work, that he kept me thoroughly engaged. I actually attempted to read this in paperback form several years ago and did not finish it, but with his narration I loved this book.
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
Genius on every level. The narrator is fantastic, he captures the feel and pacing of the book perfectly.
Graham's narration of Eggers' novel fits so phenomenally together that it seems odd to imagine either existing without the other.
The moments when Graham's fits of emotional ramblings and swearing mirrors the brilliance of Eggers' ability to paint the ways in which many of us delve into constant inner rants and arguments. Eggers does this, "lost in thought" ramble so fantastically that it makes me laugh at the thought previously I was the only one whom operated thus.
Dave's inner dialogue is perfectly done by Graham, quite literally perfect.
It made me want to do both, over and over again.
The way the narration fit seamlessly together with the prose made me want to experience Dave's other books again through the story telling aspect that has been done by Graham. It has made me want to follow both their careers more than when I started.
While the writer's sneering representation of Gen-X values and his obvious self-loathing make this book a difficult experience, they're also what set this memoir apart from autobiographical works of self-congratulation. Observing the author's furious, paranoid grasping for solid ground broke my heart, both for the narrator, laboring under a responsibility he's unprepared for, and for his brother, whose childhood is marked by loss and instability. The book made me remember what being 20-something was like. The reader's impassioned delivery is exactly what the author's voice called for.
Say something about yourself!
This book has wide appeal, I have no doubt. It is written in the rapid fire language of the modern sensibilities with both humor and insight. One thing that might be noteworthy is the building of tension through this superb narration: I had to read it in smaller chunks rather than listen for long periods of time, otherwise, the chaos tended to be overwhelming. It has a great sense of voice for the current generation, and a good feel for confusion that is fueled by youthful optimism, only the best kind. I'd listen to it again, though…. later, after I rest my brain a bit.
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